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How to create woven mats out of paper

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Paper woven mats can be useful if you only need them for a short time and you don't want to worry about your mats getting damaged. Examples for their use could be a kids birthday party or craft class. These paper mats can easily be thrown away or used again if they remain undamaged. Or, several mats can be attached together to make a larger mat. Though the example in this article is all one color and green, they can be done with multiple colors and customized to taste.

All of the supplies used in this craft project can be found at local stores in San Diego such as dollar stores, Michael's, Wal Mart, or any other type of store that sells paper, arts and crafts, or office supplies. No special skills, other than a knowledge of basic weaving, are needed for this project and it is safe for children. Young children should be supervised and should only use child-friendly scissors. Expect the each mat to take approximately an hour.

Supplies needed
Supplies needed Darlene Luckins

Supplies needed

The first step, as always, is to gather your supplies together.  For this craft, you will need construction paper, scissors and tape.  Any type or color of construction paper can be used.

First step, cut strips
First step, cut strips Darlene Luckins

First step, cut strips

Cut strips of paper length-wise about a inch wide.  Make sure you cut several strips so that you don't run out while putting the mat together.  You can also cut strips as you go.

Arrange the strips
Arrange the strips Darlene Luckins

Arrange the strips

Arrange the strips so that you can get an idea of how many you will need for the project.  Be sure to leave at least an inch of "overhang" on each side.

Begin weaving
Begin weaving Darlene Luckins

Begin weaving

Begin weaving each strip of paper together.  It may be hard to do so at the beginning, but it gets easier as the strips are woven together.  Strips can also be moved and re-arranged later.  

Cut more strips if needed
Cut more strips if needed Darlene Luckins

Cut more strips if needed

If you run out of strips and still have plenty of room, cut out more strips.  Strips may be woven together tightly or loosely depending on preference.

Straighten strips
Straighten strips Darlene Luckins

Straighten strips

Straighten strips tighten or loosen them up to your preference.  At this stage, you should be able to pick up the mat and turn it upside down without risking it falling apart.

Tape edge strips
Tape edge strips Darlene Luckins

Tape edge strips

Take an unused strip and place it on the right side (side that will be shown).  Tape strip down on the wrong side of the mat as shown.  It is OK if some of the strips hang over the edge.

Add strips all the way around
Add strips all the way around Darlene Luckins

Add strips all the way around

Add more strips around the rest of the mat.  Be sure that the edges second through fourth strip lies flush with the strips that were placed before it.  

Trim edges
Trim edges Darlene Luckins

Trim edges

If needed, trim any overhanging strips that might be sticking out past the edge strip.  Secure all strips with more tape on the "wrong side" if needed.

Finished mat
Finished mat Darlene Luckins

Finished mat

The finished mat should look similar to this.  Any edges that are still sticking up can be taped down.  Also, edges can be decorated with stickers and other items for a more polished look.

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